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Date:2006-01-23 12:06
Subject:Alien Amusement

A while ago, I chanced upon an invitation to start GoogleTalk with a person blessed with the most unique moniker "Zinzarzar Win". Trying to excavate into the realms of my memory and having absolutely no recollection of such a person, I cast the email aside as one of the propaganda spam probably disseminated by Google.

Few days later, I received an email from Zinzarzar himself/herself/itself.

"hi yeelin,
just knowing my feeling, takecares of yourself.
bye bye

Broken english and all, the moniker started to remind me of Jar Jar Bings. I mean, who the hell heard of ZinZarZar? Nevertheless, I curiously replied "Who are you?"

"hi koko,
you said that your time ( what time)
i don't know what are you saying.

Okay, now I have morphed into a koko. I hastily sent an email to verify he/she/it has gotten the wrong person. The next email confirmed my suspicion that Zinzarzar might be a cousin of Jar Jar Bings.

"hi koko
what are you saying .
pls tell me You are not KOKO?
yeelin say me this mail is his mail.
if you yeelin,pls come planet now."
Things get intriguing. First, there is a difference between koko and KOKO. Maybe, its an alien thing. And then there is an instruction to return to the planet. But the question is, which planet? Thoroughly amused and with an evil glint in my eyes, I replied -
Anyway, there goes alien intelligence. I don't think the alien is from MARS.
"hi yee lin lai
sorry for my mistake.
and can we make a friendship,OK?
and what are you saying " MARS" i can't understand.
zar zar"
Ah, friendly aliens. But you know. This damn aliens could be pretending to be all friendly and then start invading the planets once I start a friendship. Fighting the immense urge to reply that MARS is actually a chocolate bar with much gooey contents, I decided to halt this exchange.
The truth is out there.

16 comments | post a comment

Date:2006-01-18 14:40
Subject:Please recover, Mister Toto! :(

Mister Toto has been sick for a few days. At first, we thought he is just suffering from a bout of diarrhoea on Sunday. However, for the past days, he has been waking us up from slumber to let him out to the garden to defaecate. This is rather unusual, judging from the fact that he will rather lounge and sleep the night away.

It has been 3 days already. The facts I read from the canine health sites aren't helping to alleviate my worries. I shall bring him to the vet later. Please let him be all right. :(

On other news, I have just gave a reprimanding to a Honors Year Student who disappointed me. I usually refrain from critism unless absolutely necessary. I have given specific instruction on how to conduct research and apparently, there has been no progress in his work since the last meeting. Grr.

This is NOT a good day.

Update: Many woofs of thanks to all the sweet people who showered concern! The vet said Toto has contracted some kinda bacteria in his food. Hmm, not sure what that means. But he is back to his usual greedy self this morning. Sigh. :)

4 comments | post a comment

Date:2005-12-23 03:25

For the last 4 months, I wore at least 3 layers to sleep. I tucked myself under two blankets and a quilt. I ensured my feet were warmed by woolly socks.

Tonight, I am wearing a mere t-shirt and shorts. I have no blankets nor comforter. I am sockless. My air-conditioner is blasting at 20 degree celsius. Yet, I am feeling so blardy warm!

Welcome home.

11 comments | post a comment

Date:2005-12-17 23:05
Subject:Los Angeles...

Yay, I survived a 6-hour roadtrip to Los Angeles! Hmm, but my friend got pulled over by a cop though. :( The policeman even said he wanted to mobilized units to come after us because we were so engrossed in our conversations we failed to see the loud spiralling lights of the patrol car...

Anyhoo, I'm using a friend's Apple Computer and am feeling very retarded in this aspect indeed. On other news, I am feeling really really really broke. (What's new???) I went to Great Mall of Milpitas for shopping again and spent a bomb!!!!!!


Okay, my friend's apartment has some weird people crooning very horrible karaoke tunes. Can't update in peace. Grrr. Shall do so later!

4 comments | post a comment

Date:2005-12-16 05:44

Finally, I am connected to T-mobile Wi-fi in a Starbucks cafe in Las Vegas. The registration process is really a pain in the ass. Took me about an hour to get connected because I have totally forgotten my login name and password I have registered in New York last year. GRRRR.

Las Vegas - The City of Sins. Well, I have probably committed Sloth, Gluttony, Greed and Envy.

Sloth is waking up every morning and deciding against going to any seminars in the conference.

Gluttony is pigging out big-time in the cheap buffets that are rampant in Las Vegas. I consumed oysters, prawns, prime cuts, and loads of ice cream. Ahhh. *Rubs Tummy*

Greed - I am always against playing the slots machine ever since cornscious and I witnessed our 10-dollar bill being ursurped by the evil conniving casino invention. As such, whenever my parents go on board the Star Cruise for casino games, I avoid the accursed place completely because I am not blessed with gambling skills. Nevertheless, I succumbed to my roommate's request to impart blackjack skills to her. In the teaching process, I got hooked on the blackjack machines as well. At the start, I was winning. But I got greedy. In the end, I lost USD30. Boohoo. Moral of the story - Quit while you are ahead! It's so simple to talk the talk, but just so difficult to walk to talk. Blah.

Envy - Envy is when I peered enviously at the old lady next machine when I heard the sweet melody of coin clinks. Envy is when I smiled sweetly and uttered congratulations, but was really cursing the same old lady for choosing the right machine. :P

All right, my laptop batt is totally running low! I have 2 hours to pass before my shuttle bus to the airport.

Ugh, have..to..resist...urge...to...recoup...losses....

4 comments | post a comment

Date:2005-12-14 01:34
Subject:Las Vegas Part IIa

Muhaha. I am back online again. My roommate needs to check her emails for interview opportunities at the conference so we are extending another day of the freaking-exhorbitant internet access. No pictures, though, since I have not brought my camera cable with me. Hmmm.

Anyhoo, last night, my roommate and I transversed along the Strip once more, entering the Flamingo to look at the habitat of wildlife birds. There were several flamingoes preening and penguins that remained so still, I thought they were inanimate. There was a swan, who grossly contorted its neck such that its head is resting on its soft fluffy body. (Ah, the wonders of having a long neck. Even with my soft fluffy tummy now, there is no way I can ever rest on it.) It looked strangely comfortable, although its contortion seemed to cause it to swirl around in circles on the pond. In essence, you get a pretty weird sight of a swan whose head is buried on its body, spiralling madly on the waters.

My roommate wanted to escalate the Paris's Effiel Tower. We bought tickets for USD9 and made out way up the 40+ storey structure. Well, the height wasn't that fantastic. I think the Empire State Building provided more of the wow-factor in terms of the height. The good thing about being up there is able to absorb the colorful view of Las Vegas, where the rows of lights seemed endless. In fact, I don't think I was able to observe the end of the horizon amidst the sea of lights.

Ooo, then the Bellagio fountain began to churn. Cool, we got to see a musical show from above, on the tower. The lights dimmed and the crowd grew silent. Celion Dion (*groan*)'s "My Heart Will Go On" begins. Yep, the liquid aerobics was pure magic.

We pressed on in the cold and hopped up the golden double decked bus towards Downtown Las Vegas for the Fremont Street Experience. Frankly, it is kinda overhyped. But I like the moment where the lights go out and the crowds cheer. The light shows on the roof were mediocre.

We strolled along the 4 blocks of Fremont Street, bought a dozen donuts and hot chocolate for dinner. Apparently, Krispy Kreme seems to be a favorite food of everyone. Our huge box of donuts attracted stares and greedy pleas. For instance, a guy in the lift suggested we distribute the donuts among the people in the lift. He kept suggesting ways of dividing the donuts although I mentioned there was only a dozen. "Come on, there are 5 of us here. We will each get 2 and you can keep the extras."

Fortunately, we reached our destination and he had to terminate his dividing-donuts solutions. TOO BAD! Get your own donuts!!! Touch my donuts and die!!!!!!!


4 comments | post a comment

Date:2005-12-13 06:56
Subject:Las Vegas Part II

Las Vegas is really a colorful bunchalliance of every major significant place in the world, emulating the Effiel Tower in Paris, the Romian architecture, the Venetian atmosphere or even the lush tropical rainforests. Each hotel revolves around a particular theme, and each hotel is equipped with a thriving casinoes. In fact, all the casinoes look so similar to me, I wonder how the punters make their selection.

So, I trudged out to look for lunch at noon alone, since my roommate is going for the conference lunch. I walked towards the south along Las Vegas Boulevard (a part known as The Strip), having strolled towards the North last night. First stop was The Mirage. These hotels spare no effort and wealth in trying to impress. There were moving walkways towards any major hotels, probably to induce the aged and elderly to waste their pensions in their casinoes. Heh heh.

At one of the entrances at The Mirage, there was a glass enclosure with a well-fed white Tiger looking extremely bored at its audience who were hollering at him to "DO SOMETHING!" Like what? Break the glass enclosure and chew you irritating people into a bloody mess? Feeling both sympathetic and sorry that I was part of the audience that the Tiger probably abhored, I left to explore the maze-like innards of The Mirage.

Walking on...to Caesars Palace. All I can say is, erm, major tackiness. What can I say? Celine Dion bores me. Anything with Celinw Dion is probably boring. Hee. But as usual, the place is BIG. Humongous.

Next is Bellagio, the hotel famed for its spectacular muscial fountain show. The Bellagio's Conservatory of flowers was decked out for the Holidays. There were plush and fat-looking fake penguins, almost like a scene from the March of the Penguins! The most amazing entertainment come from watching the hotel florists making huge-ass polar bears out of white roses. I stood there gawking until I realized I was supposed to get lunch.outside Bellagio. I waited with them for around 5 minutes, grew bored and decided to move on to make a detour back to the Venetian.

Outside Bellagio, there were people waiting for the musical fountain to start. I brisked past the Effiel Tower, Bally's, Flamingo and Harrah's, back to good ol' Venetian. Since Venetian is an emulation of Venice itself, they have man-made waters for gondolas. The roof of the Grand Canal Shoppe is made to emulate a good day in Venice with pretty azure skies. The first time I saw it yesterday, I thought they were real skies. The atmosphere was abuzzed with the tinkle of people's laughters, the jazzy sounds of strumming guitars and a deep serenading voice of a tenor paddling the gondola. I bought a chocolate-and-nuts-coated cone of gelato, found a bench and sat to listen to the sounds. Mmm. Yum....

So who says "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?" My fats grew in Vegas, and it is going home with me! BOO-HOO! I am getting fatter by the minute and my jeans is strangely getting tighter than ever. In fact, the first thing my supervisor said to me after he saw me for the first time in these 4 months was "Wah, eh, you put on WEIGHT! Good life huh!" My chinese schoolmate who shares my hotel room has acquired a habit of stopping me in the middle of my conversation and pinching my cheeks before quipping "你胖了!" What the ....  

And guess what Las Vegas is famous for besides drive-way weddings, casinoes and strip shows?

Buffets!  Pardon me, but I am a big fan of buffets because I like to see loads of food gathering at one place. It is like a convention of food. I get to eat this, try that. HA HA. I am so dead. Can someone tell me how to direct fats towards places that are more favorable for growth?

All righty, the hotel's internet connection is costing USD10/day. What extravagance. So, I might not be able to update as frequent as I want. Hmph. Oh well, tonight, I will probably explore Downtown Las Vegas for the Fremont Street Experience, Bellagio Water Fountains and probably further south towards MGM.

To those people who are studying for finals or working hard in their offices, be grateful! At least you are not getting fat like me. :( If I struck the jackpots, I will buy souveneirs back from Las Vegas for you all, okay? :P

12 comments | post a comment

Date:2005-12-12 14:57
Subject:The City of Sin

I woke up bright and early this morning, before the light of dawn, to get ready for my flight to Las Vegas. As I dragged my lugguage towards the BART station, I silently cursed Samsonite for not making bigger and quieter lugguage wheels. I was half-frustrated at the miniscule revolutions the lugguage wheels are making, half worried that the din the wheels are making are gonna wake up homeless people up. After much effort, I made it to the BART Station...

... only to see the BART I was trying to catch leave. So, what's new? I've perfectly researched and timed my schedule but still miss the BART anyway because it was 3 minutes early. The irony is that the next BART arrived 3 minutes late. Anyway, it was a Sunday and BART trains are really infrequent on Sundays. So, I am jinxed to the extent that the train came early when I was punctual, and came late when I have been waiting for 1/2 hour. Bleah.

Still, I got up the BART, somehow managing to get on the plane in time, with still time to grab a soup lunch at one of the cafes in the airport. An hour plus of squashed-up plane ride later, I was in Las Vegas.

Even at the airport, there are slots machines all around. That is the first hint of the extent of casino frenzy in this city. I took a shuttle bus and made my way to the conference hotel - The Venetian. The route there was frought with huge, dry rock mountains on one side, and loud tacky buildings on the other. It seemed like a city has materialized miraculously from a dead and liveless plane of desert land. It is quite amazing.

My hotel suite is amazing too, being the biggest hotel room I ever stayed in my life. It is lavish, compared to the miserable New York hotel room I stayed last year. There were two huge queen beds, living area, dining area and a study area. The bathroom has shower room, bath tub and a toilet room. Awesome....

Anyway, since I ain't a gambler, the prospect of exploring this casino city isn't very exciting. I sauntered around the Las Vegas Boulevard and frankly, I felt rather bored. There were many flashy neon lights blinking and people accousting unsuspecting tourists to watch some shows. It feels like a major strip club.

Oh well, let's hope I see a more praise-worthy sight of the city tomorrow.

6 comments | post a comment

Date:2005-12-11 02:38
Subject:All of our agents are busy at the moment... Please hold.

I have held the phone between my neck and my cheek for too long and I think my neck has now acquired a permanent tilt. Grr.

So, I bought tickets from Expedia to Las Vegas for my conference. My China schoolmate from NUS, who will be sharing the room with me, suggested travelling around Las Vegas for one day before going back. To my dismay, she informed me she will be going back on the 15th December morning, while my flight is in the evening. Hmm. Thus, I tried to see if I could change my departure flight to an earlier one online.

Interestingly, despite its claim "Do it yourself online--it's easy and we'll waive the $30.00 processing fee.", the link to "Changing your flight" brings me to a page where they provided a number to call for agent assistances instead. Wondering if they would still waive the $30 fee because I wanted to change the flight myself but they are ill-equipped with that capability, I called the displayed number to verify.

I choked back my blood as the machine-generated voice kept quipping that 'he' couldn't get my itinerary number. How could he get it when he keeps interrupting me mid-way when I am excruciatingly enunciating every syallabus?! After the third attempt, the machine recognizer thingy proceeded to ask "So, what do you want to do?" and I wondered if it recognizes if I said "I want to kill you."

Then, came to great wait for an available agent. I waited. And I waited. And I waited.

And I waited some more.

The taunting verse "All of our agents are busy at the moment. Please hold. Our first available agent will attend to you shortly" rang over and over my head.

After like about 20 minutes of neck aerobics, I got through. Apparently, reaching the travel agent via the online link does not count as doing it yourself online. Tsk. So, freaking remove that misleading link!


On brighter news, I had dim sum for the first time yesterday since I left Singapore. Mmmm. Weixiang brought me to Oakland Chinatown for a sort of "farewell" meal because his girlfriend will be arriving here right after his examinations and he will probably want to be secluded and locked up in the world of their own. Ha ha ha. Hor, Weixiang hor?

2 comments | post a comment

Date:2005-12-08 00:45
Subject:Love thy Neighbor

I was relating the tales of my house's power loss to my unsympathetic neighbor on MSN who was almost gloating, providing snide, smart-aleck remarks about my misfortunes. Tsk tsk.  Then he learnt about my nasty spill, grew a teeny-weeny bit more sympathetic, and offered to pay his debt of a home-cooked meal (for losing to me at Literati) for dinner. I declined, since I was feeling the prospective grumps of a major PMS bout and preferred to keep my angsty moods invisible from the world.

Anyhoo, my neighbor disappeared from MSN for his grocery shopping, only to materialized later with the sweetest announcement that he has baked a brownie to cheer me up! Isn't that the sweetest neighbor anyone could have?? That brownie is going to wipe all his sarcasm and nasty remarks all off the slate!! Muhaha. Nobody has ever baked anything especially for me! Although I do remember baking things especially for someone... (Oh cornscious, remember my disastrous 3-cans-of-condensed milk birthday cake-concoctation?) So yeah, it was an instant cheer-me-up.. :)

So, since I have no roomies (except Clara) to love like the rest of the students staying here, I shall count the ways I adore my neighbor!

  1. His heater is switched on full-blast most of the times. Thus, while stepping from outdoors into his home is like entering an entirelly different atmosphere. For a moment, it feels almost like I am back home in Singapore. It is actually warm sufficiently to hang out in shorts and singlet, okay
  2. He cooks healthy, home-cooked meals and I get to leech on them occasionally. (My only source of healthy food amidst takeouts, maggi-mee and instant microwaveables!)
  3. He is a jolly good host, feeding his guests with apple cider, pizza, waffles, chips and ice cream.....
  4. He is my only meal khaki in the neighborhood!
  5. He dishes out free donuts when he has extra and lends me sun-repair lotion when I am sun-burnt!
  6. He dishes out sarcasm and taunts, but it is comforting to know that if I want to give him a huge kick in the ass, he is within reaching distance.

Hmm, awesomeee. We should all count the ways to love our neighbors.


8 comments | post a comment

Date:2005-12-07 02:34
Subject:Of Rotten Eggs, Tomatoes & Lemons

It began last Thursday. I went to Safeway for a big grocery shopping trip but forgot the Club number, thus stupidly forgoing discounts of USD10-12. (Yes, okay I am a penny pincher.) Then it continued when I was telling someone it wasn't going to pour, and right at that second, the drizzle transformed into huge pelts of raindrops, stinging my miserable face as I was lugging bags of groceries.

Like a pesky salesman, the streak of bad luck continued to bug me on Sunday. I lost one of my contact lens and had a nasty spill while jogging, rendering a bout of bruises and scrapes on my knees, an almost-dislocated (at least it feels like it) left shoulder, an ugly pus-leaking injury on my right palm and a very red face.

Apparently, I fell flat on my face (or rather, the side of my face). The weird thing is, as I was falling, everything was like in slow-motion. I could see myself falling and my mind going "Oh no oh no, I am falling. Save the iPod. Save the iPod!!!" Thus, I remembered (cleverly) attempting to fall on the side that did not involve any iPod-crushing. I also remembered falling so hard (Ooooooouf!) and slidding like half a meter after falling like some body surfer.

Yup, so the aftermath involved some cleaning up. The worst and most inconvenient injury was my right palm since I can't write very well, I can't bathe very well, and I can't seem to undress myself without going "Ow ow ow." :(

So, I was complaining to the_otter_boy who interestingly decided he would save his face if he could see his fall in slow-motion (What is there to save?). Since he was feeling down himself, I used the analogy that cornscious often recite in times of unfortunate events, in times where life cannot seem anymore bleak - When life throws lemons at you, make lemonade. Additionally, I told him that to comfort ourselves, we should think on the bright side, since things can only go up now that it is down. Like a stupid prophet, he replied "Well, it still can go down. Just a smaller probability."

And right he is! (Why don't you stupidly prophesized some 4d numbers instead?)

As I was doing my work on the laptop last night, the house lost power. We were thrown into semi-darkness, into the cold of about five degrees without any heating. Hooray. After pottering around in the cold with Clara, wondering what went round, trying out all the switches and whatsnot, I finally buried myself in the thick layers of blankets, entertaining myself with Harry Potter by the pathetic torchlight.

I was awakened by Clara who told me the PG&E guy had no idea what was wrong and would send a private electrician in the morning. So there you go, no electricity for the rest of the night. Bundled in my blankets, I worked on the remaining life of my laptop, trying unsuccessfully to leech on neighboring networks. Whaddaya know? Of course I would be unsuccessful.

So yeah, I conclude I have almost mastered the art of making lemonade, lemon pies, lemon sherbet and lemonywhatsnot. But I am beginning to think life is starting to throw tomatoes and rotten eggs too. Hmm, I need some recipes to handle those.

9 comments | post a comment

Date:2005-12-04 18:17
Subject:What is Love?

I think being in love means wanting so much to do stuff just so you can see a smile on her/his face. It comes right from the heart. It should not be coerced by circumstances, nor should it be done because she/he told me so.

When everything is done just because the circumstance has become dire, or that one has become 'trained' to do so, there is no more spontaneity.

It becomes nothing but a routine. A vicious cycle.

Date:2005-12-02 15:04

There is always sadness in learning death, especially one which is purely manufactured. Is there no room for redemption? Is death the only punishment to clear those nasty and vile blemishes from our perfect and sterile island?

Sometimes, it is only human to err. I bet this poor boy, at still-quite-an-impressionable age of 25, probably had no idea regarding the strict regulations of Singapore. I am also willing to bet that he must be absolutely terrified by his deed and he would probably not even dare go near such vices if he were to be released. But now we will never know, will we? For he is already dead.

Now, can someone tell me, exactly what is wrong with life imprisonment that makes is much less unnerving than death penalty?

Meanwhile, closer to where I am, a similar plea for clemency is going on.

4 comments | post a comment

Date:2005-11-29 09:38

A friend sent me a contact to add on my msn list as suggested by the title and told me to talk to it when I was bored. Yeah, so...Bored I was, after an intensive paper-reading session the whole chilly day. Here are some excerpts which served me with tremendous amusement.

The conversations started off courteous..

lost duckie says:
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
Hi, lost duckie.
What do you want to chat about?
lost duckie says:
what is 7+3?
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
7 + 3 = 10
lost duckie says:
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
lost duckie says:
Encarta® Instant Answers says:

Then I got cranky...

lost duckie says:
I love you!
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
I love you a lot.
lost duckie says:
give me a kiss
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
lost duckie says:
will you give me all your money?
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
OK, but all I have is worthless Russian Rubles...
lost duckie says:
give me bill gates money
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
Earn it yourself.

Hmm. Now, is he sharp or what?

lost duckie says:
i hate you
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
What? It seems to me you just said you loved me! (WOAH!! I am impressed. It can remember!)
lost duckie says:
I am sorry.
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
OK. I'll forgive you this time...
lost duckie says:
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
Dry your eyes! (Robots show empathy!)

Okay, time for questions about myself...

lost duckie says:
Am I pretty?
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
Is there anything great about being pretty?
lost duckie says:
Am I smart?
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
I doubt you're smart. (WHAT THE......The audacity of this stupid robot.......)

Fine.. what about questions about it?

lost duckie says:
are you sexy?
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
Well, if you're into fast hard drives, I'm your robot. (Okay, I am not. What a disappointment...)
lost duckie says:
are you married?
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
Am I married? Who am I going to marry, Deep Blue?
lost duckie says:
are you god?
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
I might be. (....)

All righty, need to head back to readings. Entertainment's over. Some parting words...

lost duckie says:
You suck
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
Why do you say that now? You were very kind to me before.
lost duckie says:
you are lame.
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
:( That's not nice.
lost duckie says:
fuck off
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
No, no, don't say that.
lost duckie says:
don't bother me
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
But I like to bother you.
lost duckie says:
say bye
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
Just 'cause you say so? I don't think so.
lost duckie says:
say woof
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
lost duckie says:
say woof woof
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
I'm no talking doll.
lost duckie says:
Encarta® Instant Answers says:
Later, lost duckie.

7 comments | post a comment

Date:2005-11-28 09:00
Subject:Sweating like a ....

The weather has suddenly turned very chilly. My sweat glands have gone on an overtime vacation. On the rare occasions that I jogged, they reluctantly started to churn out beads of perspiration. So, the following MSN conversation with my mum ensued...

lost duckie says: (That's me!)
i just finished jogging
lost duckie says:
now i am very hot
lost duckie says:
before jogging i very cold (forgive my duhness)
lost duckie says:
Toto is enjoying his chips says: (This's my mum!)
where did u go i tot u are under the blanket
lost duckie says:
i went jogging
Toto is enjoying his chips says:
sori ah pig dont sweat ..
Toto is enjoying his chips says:
which animal like sweating can u name one
lost duckie says:
how u know pigs don't sweat?

So I googled "Do pigs sweat?" and got this:

Pigs don't have sweat glands in their bodies, so they don't sweat. To avoid getting overheated, pigs wallow in mud. By covering their bodies with mud, pigs achieve two purposes. The first is to cool off, and the second is to keep mosquitoes or other insects from getting to their skin.

Okay, this sounds vaguely familiar. Whoever invented the phrase "sweating like a pig" ought to be clobbered.

With that, my mum got all smirky.

Toto is enjoying his chips says:
I reared pigs when I was small..grandfather is a farmer okay.

Okay lor. Mother wins again.

2 comments | post a comment

Date:2005-11-28 02:34
Subject:Holiday Sales

Black Friday marks the day of big, big sales. However, being not a very morning person (most of the sales are only good as early as 5am in the morning), nor a person who is very vicious in shopping tactics (I usually give up upon seeing the throngs of people), the day did not seem to incur any significant discounts for me. Sigh.

Nevertheless, it was a complete display of self-restraint, as I strolled down the Great Mall, reminding myself that my aim is only to get PRESENTS for people back home. Still, it did not prevent me from entering shops and browsing the huge variety of clothes and accessories, half-wishing I have rich parents to sponsor me. Sigh. Consequently, my loot comprised only of a Nine West Bag for my grandmother and an American Eagle Outfitters leather iPod cover for my brother. Since I have gotten nothing for myself, I bought a frozen banana covered with chocolate and nuts but it was so giantic, I think I am put off bananas for the rest of the month.

Saturday was actually planned for a visit to Pinnacles State Park but we woke up really late, almost noon! So it was cancelled and I decided the time was ripe to visit the newly opened H&M store at Powell in San Francisco! I had a good time last december visiting all the H&M stores in New York, so I was rather thrilled to learn they are conquering the West Coast as well. Anyhoo, to my utter amazement, there was a queue to enter the store! It is quite ridiculous. The queues to the fitting room, the queues to the cashier... woah! People have gone mad.

Still, I must say I am quite impressed with their range of clothing. Their men's styles were awesome! Too bad I ain't a guy, or I am sure to buy a few casual jackets and shirts. Heh heh. This time, I lost my self-restraint. :P

Oh well, the long thanksgiving holiday is coming to an end. There is this inertia to go back to working mode. What a dread.

On other happier news, I am going back to Singapore soon. I can't wait to hug Mister Toto! =D

4 comments | post a comment

Date:2005-11-24 16:29
Subject:Happy Thanksgiving!

It's the Thanksgiving Holidays!

Apparently, Thanksgiving is quite an important occasion over here, much like our Chinese New Year back home. The holiday is going to stretch from Thursday to Sunday. Cool, eh? Many of the Singaporeans here have set off tonight for Lake Tahoe. According to them, Lake Tahoe seems to be a very popular place to visit during Thanksgiving for snow-skiing and snow-boarding. However, the weather this year is rather warped, being rather warm in this supposedly-wintery period, providing the lack of conducive conditions for snow. Nevertheless, the Singaporeans still set off to the lodge for some holidaying.

What about me? I have been coding and programming for the past 6 hours! How wonderful. Hmm, what's worse? I have to attend a Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by my professor. According to him, he invited only some other Singaporean professors. Dang. I am just going to shut up and listen to them discuss intellectual stuff while poking at my turkey.


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Date:2005-11-21 14:46
Subject:Top of the World, Literally...

Yeah, so! I was mentioning in my previous post regarding freaking out. I was actually quite freaked about the concept of leaping off from the height of 14,000 feet. It is the mixed feeling of anticipation and fear. The kind of queasy-butterflies-in-stomach-but-I-am-looking-forward kinda feeling one gets before getting on a roller coaster. Except this time, it is a damn expensive ride (USD300) and it is hell lot scarier.

At the crack of dawn, Weixiang and I headed off from Berkeley to the Bay Area Skydiving Hangars to meet the NOC guys from Stanford. We were there, like, a whole half hour earlier, thanks to his excellent navigation and driving skills. The NOC jokers were, however, 20 minutes late, resulting in us waiting for almost an hour in apprehension. I hate the feeling of wary anticipation! Grr!

Nevertheless, we proceeded inside where we paid up and were handed many indemnity forms that sounds severely ominous. There were at least 50 blanks to sign on, declaring the center's non-responsibility for any misadventure. Nix, Frank and Steve were called up as the first jumpers. We waved them off as the plane took flight and sauntered to the fields to spot for puny shadows of parachutes. The trio of us had a good chat in the sunshine, partially dismissing any fright on my part.

Soon, we began to see people floating down in colorful parachutes. Yes! They made it back alive. Now, it is time for our ordeal!!

I was introduced to my instructor, Vic. I put on the skydiving suit and he helped me with the harnesses and whatsnot. Cool, I felt like an astronaut.

Soon, it was time for us to proceed to the plane. It was a puny jet, sufficient for only about ten people. I marched out into the sunshine, still oblivious to the reality of it all. Jason, my cameraman kept asking me to "Say something! Anything!" and Vic kept asking me to smile.

On the plane, there were much small talk engaged. I occasionally checked the view from my window, ignoring the increasing pressure in my ears. Gee, I thought, this sure is high!. The cameramen and instructors were probably immune to all these jumps, joking around foolishly regarding some invisible crew service. Vic repeated the instructions I have to adhere to, asking me to keep my feet on his butt and lift up my arms when he taps on my shoulders. I nodded obediently, certain that I will forget them as soon as I jumped.

At the height of 14,000 feet, Jason signaled that it was time for the jump. I was the first. I must say my cameraman, Jason, is the coolest dude ever. He hung on to the speeding plane but this teeny pole and filmed my virgin attempt. I waddled clumsily with Vic to the door of the flight, staring in disbelief the sight that greeted me.

Holymotherof... Woah, now this is high! I thought to myself. And to think I have to be the first of all the persons to leap off. Jason was at the side shouting at me to smile or something. I was like er.. whatever! and we leapt off ....

...and we kept falling and falling. All that ran through my mind is ... WOAH! WOAH! WOAH!

Everything seems strangely surreal. I watched the miniscule sights below that seemed like toy ornaments. I saw the mountains far far away. I breathed the rushing wind with loud gasps. Everything seemed to suddenly move in slow-motion. Hmm, so is this what they say about the theory of relativity? The faster you move, the slower everything seems.

Then, I was aware of Jason spinning around in front of me with the camera. I absolutely applaud the cameramen's ability in manuveuring their postures for the filming. It is true acrobat magic. I did all the hand signals I can remember, which mainly comprised of boring Victory and Okay hand signs. But a minute of free fall is a looooooong time. Pretty soon, I became wary of my shoes being blown off by the tearing velocity and my eardrums bursting from the increasing pressures.

As abrupt as the fall started, Vic released the parachute suddenly too. Jason continued to fall way ahead so he could film my descent. Our fall slowed significantly but we were still extremely far from the ground. Vic mumbled "Okay, to make us feel more comfortable, we are going to feel a bit of a drop. I am going to release blah blah..." And right at that moment, a thought flash past - if he were to drop me now, I am so going to die man.

There was a click but fortunately, the drop was not very significant. We drifted down gradually, as I delighted myself in the breathtaking scenery. Vic decided to impart some parachuting skills to me and started a series of spins. The tiny world below spun continuously clockwise and anti-clockwise. Seemingly, we were still falling at a very fast pace!

The dropoffzone approached. Vic instructed me to lift my legs up and whoosh! We made the perfect landing, without any bruised butts or boobs. Both of us managed to stand up and we congratulated ourselves. Whee! I waited for Weixiang and Kaien to make their descents and we gathered to rattle uncontrallably about our respective experiences, laughing in relief.

While waiting for our (very expensive) photographs and video to be developed, we listened to the instructors' stories regarding how first-time jumpers develop motion-sickness on the plane. If they go "Opps I don't feel too good", the instructors are usually told to tilt their head to the side so that the anticipated puke doesn't affect the instructors' sights. They were describing the direction of puke - concentric circles, straight lines and all and it was pretty hilarious. Before my jump, Steve also warned me from flinging my hands too much and punching my instructor unconscious because that will mean there is probably nobody to release the chutes.

After what seems like eternity, each of us got our CDs and DVDs and it's off to lunch! Yippee. We were absolutely starving. Lunch was KFC and Rootbeers and plenty of high-adrenaline-rush talk. It was a blast.

More photos can be found here...

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Date:2005-11-20 12:22
Subject:Harry Potter, Coffee Bag & Other Unfortunate Stories

The movie system here endorses free seating and that means to get reasonable seats for Harry Potter, we had to be there by 730pm for a show that starts only at 8 o'clock. Since the movie ticket cost a freaking USD9 buckeroos, we slyly decided to sneak into other theatres to catch perhaps "Derailed" or "Zathura".

Weirdly, HHQ decided he might need some caffeine dosage to endure the planned movie marathon. Who the hell needs external assistance to stay awake for Harry Potter?! The storyline itself should be sufficiently engaging! Nevertheless, he ordered a Caramel Frappa at Starbucks. To his dismay, the cashier got his order wrong. But being in USA has its privileges - customers are always the greatest. I am certain you have all heard of their mighty return policies. So, the cashier refunded the difference in his payment, made him his Caramel Frappa and he got to keep his wrong order as well!

Gleefully, we grabbed the coffees and left hurriedly for the cinemas. There was a long line snaking to buy tickets. We patted our backs and congratulated ourselves for our advanced purchase of the tickets the day before. Got foresight okay.

Stepping into the theatre, we were greeted by a scene that should be familiar to us. Singaporean Kiasuism!! Instead of Singaporean aunties and uncles, boys and girls, using tissue paper packets to chop seats at hawker center, we get white aunties and uncles, boys and girls, chopping seats with sweaters, popcorns and whatsnot. It was only 740pm! That is the problem with free-seating! Some guy was even trying to get permission to enter the 845 time slot movie. The system is seriously flawed. Tsk tsk.

The fortunate thing is - we found some reasonable seats. The unfortunate thing is - HHQ opened my bag and realized half of his free coffee has spilled. My notes and pencil case were swimming in a swamp of aromatic latte. At times like this, I thank the heavens I am not a Louis Vuitton (or USD2000) bag toting girl. At times like this, I thank the grounds that I compartmentalize my stuff such that my ipod, wallet, passport and cellular phone are in a different pocket, far away from the castastrophe.

Anyhow, there was a minor hoo-haa, with me and HHQ alternating to the restrooms to clear out the disastrous aftermath. The nice lady beside us sympathetically offered many napkins to soak up the disgusting contents. Doing the best we could, we finally left the stuff to dry at a free seat next to us and settled in for the movie.

Well, I read the GOB of the Harry Potter series for the most number of times and I could literally memorize what are the features of certain scenes in the book that mersmized me. I don't see why the directors have to change the scenes when they could just plainly omit them. By altering certain scenes, do they have any idea they will be impacting future storylines as well? 'Twas rather weird. The movie played along at a hurried speed, although I must applaud them for putting into life the stories that only exist in my imagination. I would have paid USD9 twice to watch a 6-hour adaption of the actual story. Just like LOTR. I think those people who have not read the book will be vulnerable into misunderstanding certain characters.

HHQ who "claimed" he has read the book (but has forgotten), inquired loudly (to my embarassment) "Fleur is lesbian ah? How come she rescuing a girl?" during the eerie water scene where the four champions' loved ones floated within the deep lake. (*Spoiler* Ah see, that is exactly what happens to people who don't read the book. They will probably think Cedric is such a loser for screaming at Harry while being grabbed by what-on-earth-is-that-again grappling weeds.) Also, there were much wolf whistles at Harry's topless scene in the Prefect's Bathroom. HA ha.

After the show ended, we decided to head home, instead of the planned-sneaking-to-watch-other-movie thingy because of the coffee disaster. However, being a Friday night, there was an inundation of calls to HHQ's handphone on things to do. We decided to go ahead with Mahjong.

My streak of misfortune continued. Not only did I NOT WIN a single game, I also felt nauseous halfway into the game. It could be due to the nasty egg sandwich I ate at Starbucks, or it could be the weird smell (from a big piles of shoes) in their house. Having been to a number of Singaporeans' abodes here, I must profess my admiration for people who are able to live with the level of filth. Ha ha. I am sometimes glad that I live with only 1 roommate. The conditions of the house are correlated with the number of people living in it. Specifically, I actually mean, correlated with the number of MEN.

Anyway, at one point of time, I actually felt vomit arising at the back of my throat. I excused myself to the restroom, but was unable to get anything out of my throat. I felt rather queasy and terrible. And what's worse?! More people began to throng the house, bringing with them alcohol and the dance-dance-revolution mat. These young and energetic undergrads! They started coercing everybody to have a go at the mats, including me who is probably the most ancient of the lot.

Thankfully, by 3 am, some boys were leaving and I managed to hitch a ride home.

Shoo, bad luck, shoo. I need some luck for tomorrow. I am starting to freak out...

p/s: Should I be disturbed that I am finding Voldemort very sexy? Hmm.

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Date:2005-11-19 02:14
Subject:Talent in Making!

Anyway, while reading Michael's archives, I chanced upon the lyrics of the song he sang last week which he has written for his fiancee. The song was very sweet and soothing, somewhat like "Where have all the flowers gone?" or Greenday's "Time of your Life". Acoustic and a tinge of sweetness. I don't know why, but I feel a tinge of sadness too.

I'd be your boy

I’d be your yellow when you feel so blue
I’d be your rainbow when it rains
I’d be the sun in your secret garden
I’d be your joy everyday of our lives

I’d be your prince of your magic kingdom
I’d be your pillow on your bed
I’d be your ice in the scorching summer
I’d be your everything

Well you’ve got me
And I’ve got you
That makes the most beautiful song
Cos this loveIs 10 years in the making
And I can’t wait for more

I’d be your boy for this chance of a lifetime
I’d be your boy everyday
I’d be your boy for this love’s overflowing
I’d be your boy everyday of our lives

I’d be the ring on your forth finger
I’d be your carrot cake
I’d be your song in your lonesome hours
I’d be your everything

I’d lay this kiss on your head
And I’d whisper in your ear
I’d hold you in my arms
And I’d sing this lullaby for you

For you…

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